Wednesday, March 31, 2021

Whispers And Shadows

Shadows of Luclin is one of my favorite EverQuest expansions. Blood of Luclin is one of my favorite EverQuest II expansions. Luclin is my main EQ server. I've been Team Luclin for quite a while.

I don't believe I've ever met the goddess Luclin herself before, though, face to face. 

I have now.

The EverQuest games are hardly exemplars of good writing, even good genre writing. The plots meander and sprawl and mostly make no sense. The characters have names that can barely be read, let alone pronounced. Try saying Ssraeshza without swallowing your front teeth.

The dialog swings wildly between overblown hippy twaddle that would embarass even Jon Anderson and anachronistic slang that sounds suspiciously like someone got their teenage kid to write it. No-one could possibly take any of this preposterous stuff seriously.

And yet it works. It just does. If you've been playing the games for as long as I have, anyway. 

The latest Game Update (#117 if you're keeping count. Looks as though the expansion was #116)  brings the two-year Luclin storyline to a conclusion that I found quite unreasonably satisfying, even after the multiple problems I had getting started. I was expecting a letter or some other form of lead-in to the new Signature quest but no, there's nothing.

To save anyone else the trouble I had, all you need to do is go to Shar Vhal and speak to Head Scholar Nabihan. It is in the patch notes... right at the very end. The problem is, right at the very start of the self-same notes it tells you to "Travel across Shadeweaver's Thicket to the citadel of Vex Thal". 

Don't do that. You'll only have to come back.


There's some good stuff in the update other than the questline, including a bunch of class revamps that appear to buff a number of melee classes quite significantly. There are a host of quality of life improvements, the best of which to my mind is the updating of the Fast Travel map to add a number of very welcome locations:

  • Obol Plains
  • Tranquil Sea
  • Phantom Sea
  • Thalumbra
  • Zek, the Scourge Wastes
  • Obulus Frontier
  • City of Fordel Midst [Luclin]
  • The Blinding [Luclin]

Then there's the third Overseer Season, which takes us to the Kingdom of Sky, making me wonder if the plan is to go through all the expansions in order, something that, at the rate we're going, could take longer than the game might be around. I'd give chapter and verse on the new season only it involves levelling up your Overseer account before you gain access to any of the new quests, traits, agents or rewards and at the rate it's going I estimate I won't open the new content for a week or more. 

To start the new Signature quest you do, of course, need to have completed the one that came with Reign of Shadows. At first, when I couldn't find the questgiver, I wondered if perhaps I hadn't done that. It seems a ridiculously long time ago that I was working on it. Much, much more than a mere three months.

Once I got myself sorted out it turned out I had finished it. (I knew I had, really, but doubt creeps in). Nabihan brought me back up to date and off to Vex Thal we went.

Probably might want to skip this next part if you plan on doing it yourself. It's a bit spoilery.


It's a simple enough adventure, solo. It all takes place in a new zone, Oscuris, the Plane of Shadows. The small area we get to see is little more than a series of platforms hanging in the void but it's a haunting, rather lovely place. Dark, as you'd expect, but luscious with it.

None of the fights were particularly hard although one sub-boss did take me from almost full health to a couple of percent in what felt like a single hit. And I had almost a billion hit points at the time.

I've heard numerous reports since the expansion landed about soloists having terrible problems with their mercenaries not being able to keep up with the healing like they used to but I have to say I've seen none of it. Zel`Kriaz, my merc of choice, hasn't let me drop any more than he ever did and, as I mentioned a while back, he seems to have gotten a lot better at remembering to rez me when he does. 

There were no rezzes needed this time. All the bosses seemed to be tank and spank, which was just as well because there as yet no walkthroughs or guides available. The quest content wasn't in the beta for reasons of keeping the story reveals under wraps, which might explain it, although I've noticed the once-exemplary record-keeping at the wiki has tapered off somewhat since RoS.

When I got to the final room and stood facing Emperor Ssraeshza himself and realized he was rated Epic 2X I was a little taken aback but then I remembered that's something the devs like to do in solos nowadays. I set about him with my greatsword and... he ignored me.

It took me a while to figure out why. I thought I'd been following the plot but I'd missed the part where it says only a Phantastic weapon can damage him. It doesn't mention he'll completely ignore you as though you aren't even there if you don't have one but he will.


After a good, long search through my bags I found I did have one after all. A Phantastic Gaffi. Whatever that is. It looks like a lump of rock tied to a stick.

One thing it wasn't was adorned. And it was a one-hander. My berserker's been using a two-hander for years.

I ended up having to leave the instance to go first to the bank, then to the Panda vendor and finally to the box on the floor in the Nexus just so I could scrounge up a shield and enough adorns for both of them. It does break the flow when you have to make your excuses to the arch-villain and ask if he wouldn't mind waiting while you go sort yourself out before the battle begins.

It also doesn't help when something you can neither see nor hit keeps attacking you while said arch-villain monologues at interminable length. It was the big climax and there was even voice acting but I can't tell you if it was any good because I couldn't hear much of it over the crashing and banging. I think the Godslayer has an American accent, though, if that helps set the mood.

Even when he was finished and the Goddess Luclin burst out of his slumped body like a dark Marilyn Monroe out of an evil birthday cake, something was still trying to bite me. It stopped as soon as she started talking so I think that part might have been intentional. Maybe it all was. Who knows?


And who cares, really? Despite all the things that went wrong, I loved it. It's Luclin, ffs! It's Luclin and she's talking to me!

She was pleasant enough, too, but she did make it quite clear I probably shouldn't come back. So I took a couple of selfies with her before I left. Who knows if I'll ever get another chance?

It's all a load of nonsense but it works for me. Or on me. I thought it was a pretty solid ending to a pretty solid story. That's Luclin (the moon, I mean) done with now, I'd imagine. Next expansion (always assuming there is one) I'd expect to be heading somewhere new.

Meanwhile, there's a new mission in the update I'll have to get to sooner or later: Vex Thal: Den of Shadows. It's the one from the top of the patch notes. I still don't think they really made that clear...

The reward for completing the Signature line, by the way, is a Mythical quality cloak. It hugely upgraded the Ethereal one I had from last summer, although I hadn't fully upgraded that one. The gear ladder in EQII is pretty much a gear sheer cliff face these days, which has its up sides. If you miss out on something that looks unmissable, just wait a couple of months. Something better will come along.

Looking at you, Overseer Season 3.

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